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Publisher's Summary

In Rousseau we encounter a walking ego, naked sensibility. Feeling triumphs over intellectual argument in his works, which are both deeply stirring and deeply inconsistent. Yet while his contemporaries Kant and Hume may have been superior academic philosophers, the sheer power of Rousseau's ideas was unequaled in his time. It was he who encouraged the introduction of both liberty and irrationality into the public domain.

In Rousseau in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Rousseau's life and ideas, and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from Rousseau's work, a brief list of suggested readings for those who wish to delve deeper, and chronologies that place Rousseau within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.

©2002 Paul Strathern (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Witty, illuminating, and blessedly concise." (The Wall Street Journal)

What listeners say about Rousseau in 90 Minutes

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In 90 Minutes Series overview

If you could sum up Rousseau in 90 Minutes in three words, what would they be?
aka Cliff Notes

Would you recommend Rousseau in 90 Minutes to your friends? Why or why not?
Yes - I've listened to each book in the series about a major philosopher that is available on Audible. Strathern's books don't have the analytical depth found in Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy" books, but he does a good job summarizing each philosopher's biography, major philosophical points, and criticisms. Additionally, Strathern's breadth is broader than Durant's in that he covers a greater number of philosophers. I believe that the time spent listening to these books has been well-spent.

My reviews for each book in the series about a philosopher are identical.

What about Robert Whitfield’s performance did you like?
Voice is clear, well-modulated, and easily understood, even at 1 1/2 speed.

2 people found this helpful

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Good and Balanced

In 1hr and 28 mins you have a very good overall view of Rousseau's life and ideas, as well as its affects on our world today. It is not as funny as some other "90 minute" books. This is a very good overall view of Rousseau. Maybe its because he is still very popular today. It didn't talk about his fascination with the "Native American" as I had understood throughout my studies. Like the other "90 minute" books it does say much about the author's relationship with women. They are companions for men and having children. Not very "woke" there. This book treats him with respect and understanding.

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  • MT
  • 02-15-22

not bad but mostly biographical

While Rousseau’s sordid personal life inevitably has some bearing on what he wrote and why, it would have been more interesting if the bulk of the audiobook had focused on his ideas and their historical applications.

The ear has trouble making sense of the collection of excerpts read in sequence near the end.

As regards the performance, only one criticism could be made: an occasional dramatic or comical drop in Whitfield's voice made it a bit difficult to make out what he was saying at times. I think there's some sort of technology which can fix this, but it hasn't been applied -- be prepared to fiddle with the volume.

Also, if time is of the essence as the title seems to indicate, a canny editor might consider omitting a few of Paul Strathern’s cheeky allusions to his own open-mindedness. At one point, Strathern appears to be saying, ‘I am throwing children under the bus in an attempt to (artificially?) include women in this discussion on human development.’ Does he suppose women lack awareness of historical (not to mention modern) prejudice, or is he only under the impression that women might mentally exclude themselves from humanity if the word ‘man’ is used? It seems a bit dodgy though, to make such a public effort at inclusivity only to collapse from the strain.

That said, I’m sure there are thousands of audiobooks which are simply unendurable. This one is concise and well-written, although I had hoped for a different focus.

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Interesting , short, focused

great catch up on Rousseau for those who need a refresher as well as who may not have known his work